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Oxidised Carbon Nanofibers as Platinum Support for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells

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Platinum nanoparticles supported on functionalized carbon nanofibers (CNFs) have been prepared as electrocatalyst for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells. CNFs, obtained by catalytic decomposition of methane over a high-nickeled catalyst, were pre-oxidised to create oxygen surface groups under treatments of different severity with liquid oxidising agents. Pt was then deposited by ion exchange of Pt(NH3)4Cl2 in neutral and basic media, and reduced under a hydrogen flow at 350 °C. It was observed that deposited platinum increases with both the quantity of oxygen groups and pH of the precursor solution. The maximum Pt loading was 2.2 wt%, deposited on CNFs treated with a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acid for 0.5 h at boiling temperature. Platinum particles, characterized by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and CO chemisorption, were well dispersed and their average size was smaller than 3 nm in most of the samples. Finally, electrochemical studies showed that these catalysts, even with a low Pt loading on the carbon nanofibers, present high electrocatalytic activity towards methanol oxidation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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